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National Weather Service confirms EF-2 tornado touchdown in Pickens County

Homes destroyed, trees uprooted in Pickens County
Storm leaves trail of damage in Pickens County neighborhoods
Storm leaves trail of damage in Pickens County neighborhoods
Published: Mar. 24, 2022 at 9:18 AM EDT|Updated: Mar. 24, 2022 at 3:01 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - South Carolina saw severe weather Wednesday night leaving storm damage. The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed a tornado touched down in Pickens County.

Officials said the tornado was an EF-2 with winds up to 115 mph.

Tornado warnings were issued for Oconee County, Pickens County, Abbeville County, northern Greenville County throughout the night.

NWS said a photo from an NWS employee showed a funnel cloud passing near Lake Keowee at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

In Pickens County, NWS said emergency management reported numerous snapped pine trees on Mile Creek Road near the intersection of Woodall Mountain Road from a possible tornado at 9 p.m.

Pickens County Emergency Services said at least 12 homes were damaged in the storms, six of which were unlivable. The Red Cross is helping multiple families displaced by the storm. Four people were hurt in the storms, but all injuries were minor, according to emergency officials.

Numerous trees were reported down on Duncan Road near Six Mile at 8:55 p.m. in Pickens County.

Aerial footage in the area around Lost Valley Road and Meece Mill Road showed homes with entire roofs ripped off. Several mobile homes were completely flipped by the storms.

Damage was reported on Keowee Baptist Church Road near Mile Creek Park at 8:10 p.m.

We’re expecting information from the South Carolina survey by late Thursday afternoon or early evening.

Some residents were upset that the National Weather Service did not issue a warning for the storm in Pickens County sooner. The tornado warning was issued for Pickens County just before 9:30 p.m.

“We were already out cleaning up after the storm knocked down some trees,” said neighbor Mike Key. “It was 20 minutes or so when the warning alert came.”

“There was absolutely no warning for this storm,” said Loveta Key, who also lives in the area. “We want to know why.”

Billy Gibson, the director of Pickens County Emergency Services described the event as a rare circumstance where the storm “came out of nowhere.”

Fox Carolina's Zac Prelutsky speaks with community members who worked to rescue woman from home in Pickens County.

The NWS said surveys for North Carolina will take place Friday. Henderson County, McDowell County, Rutherford County and Transylvania County were all under tornado warnings at different points during the night.

NWS said South Carolina usually sees approximately 30 to 35 tornadoes per year. Most tornadoes occur between March and June.

Storms usually experience greater instability during the daytime, according to NWS but nighttime tornadoes are not uncommon.

The Red Cross of South Carolina needs the community’s help to respond to neighbors in need. If you would like to volunteer, click here.

More on this story: Second tornado confirmed in Pickens County, according to NWS